Villa Comunale Marzotto

The Municipal Villa of Portogruaro

002 161221 SM 00809

The walls of the Municipal Villa of Portogruaro have existed centuries before becoming part of the Marzotto family. In the heart of this small Venetian town lies the Renaissance palace, today imprinted on millions of bottles, symbol of Santa Margherita all over the world.

 

The walls in houses are often the silent witnesses of countless lives; different generations, new owners and mixed fortunes belonging to the families that once lived there. The thick walls of the Municipal Villa of Portogruaro are no exception and were there centuries before Marzotto made his entrance under the arched porch for the first time. This stately building, which dates back to the years between 1543 and 1550, stands out in the heart of a small Venetian town. Built by Master Guglielmo dei Grigi from Alzano – also known as il Bergamasco – and commissioned by Count Antonio della Frattina, the site shows the same love for the territory that the Santa Margherita brand is known for. The unique conformation of the Villa is imprinted on millions of bottles, and today is Santa Margherita’s symbol of excellence around the world. Set amongst the ancient streets of Portogruaro, the Renaissance-style palace is easily recognizable due to its open gallery on one side. The double-height porch, the interior arches and the stone columns with a rhomboid base confirm the uniqueness of a building shrouded in history.

Back in the early nineteenth century, the ownership of the Villa passed onto Count Faustino Persico. Thanks to his second wife, the cultural model of the “parlor” was imported from nearby Venice, transforming the palace into an important literary and artistic center, subtly mentioned by Ippolito Nievo – a regular at the receptions organized by the Countess – in Le confessioni di un italiano. Located between the waters of the river Lemene and the streets of the old town, at the dawn of the twentieth century the Villa was acquired by Giovanni Stucky, a business entrepreneur in the milling industry, kin to a wealthy Venetian family that owned the famous mills of Giudecca.

In 1935 the Villa, purchased by Gaetano Junior, finally became part of the Marzotto family estate and later became an asset of the Società Fondiaria of  Portogruaro. The enduring bond between the family and the Villa in Portogruaro is one of the reasons why the Marzotto family decided to intervene, bringing one of the many small beauties of Italy back to glory. After centuries of ever-changing ownership, the building overlooking the Venetian waters finally came into the hands of the prestigious family, at the time already prominent in the Italian wool industry. By the second half of the twentieth century, Gaetano Marzotto Jr. engineered the creation of a cutting-edge agricultural and industrial center, with many diversified activities, also purchasing the valleys of Zignago and Perera, between Caorle and Portogruaro. At the same time, the first Santa Margherita sparkling wine made its appearance: the Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG 52 was born precisely in 1952.

In 1973 the property passed on to the Municipality of Portogruaro, marking the last change in ownership. Today the building – that now belongs to the people – presents the charm and allure of an artistically relevant place. The restoration works carried out on the structure returned the Villa to its original beauty, degraded over time, in order to achieve a modern splendor. The most decrepit plaster elements damaged by grape tendrils were deloused, while those clearly detaching on the vertical outer perimeter were demolished to free any fine layers underneath. Some interventions were also carried out on the stone components to clean them. The ribbed false ceilings of the portico vault were fortified once again, while the larch wooded shutters restored by removing the most damaged parts.

Thanks to Architect Federica Cusin, head of the restoration project, the Municipal Villa of Portogruaro returned to its original splendor that it had never truly lost. Today, the glistening beauty that we find on the Santa Margherita bottles has a counterpart in real life. The Villa is no longer a simple icon that keeps track of years passing by, generations moving in and moving out, and lovers for whom the brand is a synonymous of excellent taste. Now the effigy of the brand reflects the luminous beauty of an area and a city center filled with art, colors, and unforgettable scents.

Words Oscar Cini    
Photography Fabrizio Giraldi
Architect Federica Cusin

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